Goldstone and Danon Libel in the US
By Micah Halpern
Monday April 11, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
Israeli Knesset member Danny Danon had serious meetings with lawyer friends in the United States.
Danon and his friends are filing papers against Judge Richard Goldstone for libel against Israel. They think that they have a case because in his now famous recant in the Washington Post, Goldstone referred to the tremendous damage his report did to Israel's reputation.
This, the group asserts, is the definition of libel.
The problem is that according to US law, you cannot libel a country. Adding to the difficulty of this case is the knowledge that it is very difficult to win a case of libel when a politician is involved. The United States heard a case of libel where then Israel Defense Minister Ariel Sharon claimed that Time Magazine libeled him - that Time clearly knew the facts and nevertheless, printed the opposite.
Sharon won the case against Time but was awarded only $1 in damages. It was a pyrrhic victory. It proved the principle, but it also proved that despite overwhelming evidence, US courts do not sympathize with foreign political figures.
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